nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2009‒04‒05
twenty-two papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. The performance of decentralized school systems : evidence from Fe y Alegría in Venezuela By Allcott, Hunt; Ortega, Daniel E.
  2. Teacher pay in South Africa: How attractive is the teaching profession? By Paula Armstrong
  3. Professional services and development : a study of Mozambique By Fernandes, Ana Margarida; Mattoo, Aaditya
  4. Returns to Higher Education – a regional perspective By Backman, Mikaela; Bjerke, Lina
  5. How Income Contingent Loans could affect Return to Higher Education: a microsimulation of the French Case By Courtioux, Pierre
  6. Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History: A Comment on Becker and Woessmann By Christoph A. Schaltegger; Benno Torgler
  7. Ethnicity and Human Capital Accumulation in Urban Mexico By Hugo Nopo; Natalia Winder
  8. Learning about Academic Ability and the College Drop-out Decision By Todd R. Stinebrickner; Ralph Stinebrickner
  9. Geographic proximity and firm-university innovation linkages: evidence from Great Britain By Laura Abramovsky; Helen Simpson
  11. Evaluation of Teacher Preparation Programs: A Reality Show in Kentucky By Sharon Kukla-Acevedo; Megan Streams; Eugenia F. Toma
  12. Etnicidad y acumulación de capital humano en México Urbano By Hugo Nopo; Natalia Winder
  13. Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection By Eduardo de Carvalho Andrade; Luciano I. de Castro
  14. Early Admissions at Selective Colleges By Christopher Avery; Jonathan D. Levin
  15. Do university units differ in the efficiency of resource utilization? By Daghbashyan, Zara
  16. Working with Distant Researchers – distance and content in university-industry interaction By Broström, Anders
  17. Industry-university S&T transfers: what can we learn from Belgian CIS-2 data? By CAPRON, Henri; CINCERA, Michèle
  18. Are boys and girls affected differently when the household head leaves for good? Evidence from school and work choices in Colombia By Emla Fitzsimons; Alice Mesnard
  19. Brain Drain and Brain Return: Theory and Application to Eastern-Western Europe By Karin Mayr; Giovanni Peri
  20. Measuring educational differences in mortality among women living in highly unequal societies with defective data: the case of Brazil By Elisenda Rentería; Cassio M. Turra
  21. Micro evidence of the brain gain hypothesis: The case of Cape Verde By Catia Batista; Aitor Lacuesta; Pedro Vicente
  22. Escolaridade e o diferencial de rendimentos entre o setor privado e o setor público no Brasil By Breno Braga; Sergio Firpo; Gustavo Gonzaga

  1. By: Allcott, Hunt; Ortega, Daniel E.
    Abstract: This program evaluation estimates the effects on standardized test scores of graduating from the Fe y Alegría private school system in Venezuela. The authors find an Average Treatment Effect on the order of 0.1 standard deviations (approximately 16 percent of the average score), using a control group of public school students. These effects are significantly larger for households at the bottom of the distribution, and smaller for those at the top. The authors posit that the better performance of the Fe y Alegría system stems from their labor contract flexibility and decentralized administrative structure.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Education For All,Secondary Education,Primary Education,Teaching and Learning
    Date: 2009–03–01
  2. By: Paula Armstrong (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: Educational quality is a challenged facing the South African schooling system. It is widely acknowledged that teachers play a central role in the quality of education received by students, and that the quality of teachers is largely dependent on the wage they are offered in the teaching profession. This paper investigates the state of teacher pay in the South African labour market by comparing the remuneration received by teachers with that received by their non-teaching counterparts. Remuneration is compared across educational attainment levels, years of experience and across age groups. A Lemieux Decomposition is used to determine what the distribution of teacher wages would look like if teachers were remunerated according to the same structure as non-teachers. It is found that the teaching profession is relatively unattractive to individuals at the top end of the skills distribution in the South African labour market.
    Keywords: Education, Wage differentials by occupations, Wage level and structure
    JEL: I2 J31
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Fernandes, Ana Margarida; Mattoo, Aaditya
    Abstract: Professional skills are scarce in Mozambique, even by the standards of low-income countries. The solution, however, is not necessarily to create more Mozambican training institutions but to address market-specific problems. Where skills are already the binding constraint (for example, in auditing and engineering), policy action is indeed needed to remedy supply-side problems: capital market imperfections that inhibit investment in training institutions by entrepreneurs and in education by individuals; weakness in upstream school education, which handicaps Mozambican students in their pursuit of higher education; inadequacies in professional education and training, including curricula not attuned to industry needs; and a fragmentation of the regional education market by regulatory and language differences that prevent the emergence of regional institutions that can exploit economies of scale.Where skills may be limited but are not yet the binding constraint, the priority is to stimulate demand for appropriate skills. In this respect, the emergence of professional guilds offers opportunities, but also creates risks. The guilds can design, with government support, a regulatory framework, for example, in accounting and basic engineering, which is more attuned to the needs of Mozambican firms. They can also help make firms more aware of the benefits of professional help, for example, in accounting and information technology. The risk is that guilds will create unnecessary regulatory barriers to entry, particularly for foreign or foreign-trained professionals. Greater coherence between policies affecting professional services and international migration policy can help deal with both supply-side and demand-side problems.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,,Access&Equity in Basic Education,Education For All,Teaching and Learning
    Date: 2009–03–01
  4. By: Backman, Mikaela (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology); Bjerke, Lina (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: The returns to education have been thoroughly investigated and Sweden has shown to have a relatively low return compared to other countries in Europe. Nevertheless, few studies have combined the regional perspective with returns to education. Hence, the purpose of the paper is to analyze regional differences in their returns to higher education within natural science, engineering and medicine. We assume that individuals maximize expected utility; they will try to attain the highest expected return to education as possible. The regional sum of employment possibilities as well as unemployment shares may differ between regions. Therefore, it is plausible to believe that the regional return to education varies between locations which accounted for in the empirical part of the paper. The result shows that there are clear differences between regional classifications concerning returns to higher education. Central urban regions, except the three largest cities and ten largest universities have the highest return to education. These regions may need to compensate the individuals with a higher return. The three largest cities in Sweden have a relatively low return but have other amenities that attract individuals.
    Keywords: returns to higher education; regional attractiveness; Sweden; Mincer equation
    JEL: H52 I21 I22 J61 R11
    Date: 2009–03–25
  5. By: Courtioux, Pierre
    Abstract: The paper assesses the implementation of income contingent loan schemes for higher education (ICL) in an institutional context characterized by two main features: (i) a former tuition free system and (ii) a great heterogeneity in tertiary education’s diplomas quality and cost, which impacts the individual career paths. In this particular case, ICL implementation leads to a trade-off between increasing ‘career’ equity in terms of collective public spending versus individual gains and widening low education traps by reducing the economic incentives to pursue a tertiary education curriculum. Based on a dynamic microsimulation model we propose an ex ante evaluation of the enlargement of low education traps induced by the implementation of different ICL designs in France. We conclude that the risk of low education traps’ enlargement remains very small.
    Keywords: higher education;income contingent loan; microsimulation;
    JEL: I2 C53
    Date: 2008–07
  6. By: Christoph A. Schaltegger; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: This comment makes a contribution to Becker and Woessmann’s paper on a human capital theory of Protestant economic history eventually challenging the famous thesis by Max Weber who attributed economic success to a specific Protestant work ethic (Quarterly Journal of Economics 124 (2) (2009) forthcoming). The authors argue for a human capital approach: higher literacy among Protestants of the 19th century (and not a Protestant work ethic) contributed to higher economic prosperity at that point in history. However, the paper leaves the question open as to whether a Protestant specific work ethic existed or exists at all. Are there observable denomination-based differences in work ethic or is Protestantism only a veil hiding the underlying role of education? We use recent data to explore the role of Protestantism on work ethic. The results indicate that today’s work ethic in fact is influenced by denomination-based religiosity and also education.
    Keywords: Religion, Work Ethic, Protestantism, Education
    JEL: Z12 I20 J24
    Date: 2009–03–23
  7. By: Hugo Nopo; Natalia Winder
    Abstract: This study analyzes social mobility and human capital accumulation among ethnic minorities in Mexican urban areas, exploring changes in educational attainment and labor market status and using panel data from the Mexican Family Life Survey (MFxLS). The results indicate important ethnic differences in human capital accumulation patterns, especially in education, where non-indigenous individuals seem to accumulate human capital more rapidly than individuals of indigenous descent. Also, key socio-demographic characteristics linked to those patterns of human capital accumulation seem to differ between indigenous and non-indigenous individuals. In particular, for indigenous peoples in urban areas, human capital accumulation and wealth accumulation seem to work as substitutes rather than complements in the short run.
    Keywords: Social mobility, human capital accumulation, education, ethnic minorities, urban areas, Mexico
    JEL: D13 J15 O18
    Date: 2008–12
  8. By: Todd R. Stinebrickner; Ralph Stinebrickner
    Abstract: We use unique data to examine how college students from low income families form expectations about academic ability and to examine the role that learning about ability and a variety of other factors play in the college drop-out decision. From the standpoint of satisfying a central implication from the theory of drop-out, we find that self-reported expectations data perform well relative to standard assumptions employed in empirical work when it is necessary to explicitly characterize beliefs. At the time of entrance, students tend to substantially discount the possibility of bad grade performance, with this finding having implications for understanding the importance of the option value of schooling. After entrance, students update their beliefs in a manner which takes into account both initial beliefs and new information, with heterogeneity in weighting being broadly consistent with the spirit of Bayesian updating. Learning about ability plays a very prominent role in the drop-out decision. Among other possible factors of importance, while students who find school to be unenjoyable are unconditionally much more likely to leave school, this effect arises to a large extent because these students also tend to receive poor grades. We end by examining whether students whose grades are lower than expected understand the underlying reasons for their poor grade performance.
    JEL: I2 I21 I23 I3 J24
    Date: 2009–03
  9. By: Laura Abramovsky (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Helen Simpson (Institute for Fiscal Studies and CMPO, Bristol)
    Abstract: <p><p>We investigate evidence for spatially mediated knowledge transfer from university research. We examine whether firms locate their R&D labs near universities, and whether those that do are more likely to co-operate with, or source knowledge from universities. We find that pharmaceutical firms locate R&D near to frontier chemistry research departments, consistent with accessing localised knowledge spillovers, but also linked to the presence of science parks. In industries such as chemicals and vehicles there is less evidence of immediate co-location, but those innovative firms that do locate near to relevant research departments are more likely to engage with universities.</p></p>
    Keywords: Innovation, geography, spillovers, public research
    JEL: O3 R11 R13 I23
    Date: 2009–01
  10. By: Beckmann, Klaus (Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg); Schneider, Andrea (Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg)
    Abstract: Using a new panel dataset comprising publication and appointment data for 889 German academic economists over a quarter of a century, we confirm the familiar hypothesis that publications are important for professorial appointments, but find only a small negative effect of appointments on subsequent research productivity. In fact, a simple theoretical model leads us to hypothesise that no such effect exists for top researchers ("stars"), which is borne out by our estimation results. We also provide some evidence of the effects of the fundamental reform of economics in Germany and of affirmative action procedures.
    Keywords: Economics of education; research output; publications; academic career
    JEL: I20 I23
    Date: 2009–03–20
  11. By: Sharon Kukla-Acevedo (Deparment of Political Science, Central Michigan University); Megan Streams (College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, Tennessee State University); Eugenia F. Toma (Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Kentucky)
    Abstract: Title II of the Higher Education Act requires states to evaluate their teacher preparation programs (TPPs). In response, many states have introduced measures to evaluate TPPs similar to the ways in which they are evaluating K-12 schools. Some states, including Kentucky, have initiated pilot projects to assess the feasibility of statewide TPP evaluations. This paper stems from the Kentucky initiative and addresses methodological and data issues raised by the efforts to evaluate teacher preparation programs. This paper identifies some of the conceptual and empirical challenges of TPP evaluations. The purpose of this exercise is to serve as a model of learning for scholars interested in TPP evaluation and for policymakers and practitioners who are considering similar types of evaluations for their states.
    Keywords: Teacher preparation, evaluation, student achievement
    Date: 2009–03
  12. By: Hugo Nopo; Natalia Winder
    Abstract: Se analiza la movilidad social y la acumulación de capital humano entre minorías étnicas en zonas urbanas de México, se exploran los cambios en el logro académico y la situación en el mercado laboral y se emplean datos de panel provenientes de la Encuesta sobre la Vida de la Familia Mexicana (MFxLS). Los resultados apuntan a importantes diferencias étnicas en los patrones de acumulación de capital humano, especialmente en la educación, donde los individuos no indígenas parecen acumular capital humano con mayor rapidez que los individuos de descendencia indígena. Además, características sociales y demográficas vinculadas con esos patrones de acumulación de capital humano parecen diferir entre los individuos de extracción indígena y los de extracción no indígena. En especial, en el caso de pueblos indígenas en zonas urbanas, la acumulación de capital humano y la acumulación de riqueza parecen obrar más como sustitutos que como complementos en el corto plazo.
    Keywords: Social mobility, human capital accumulation, education, ethnic minorities, urban areas, Mexico
    JEL: D13 J15 O18
    Date: 2008–12
  13. By: Eduardo de Carvalho Andrade; Luciano I. de Castro
    Abstract: This paper shows a somehow counterintuitive result: an increase in the exam diculty may reduce the average quality (productivity) of selected individuals. Since the exam does not verify all skills, when its standard rises, candidates with relatively low skills emphasized in the test and high skills demanded in the job may no longer qualify. Hence, an increase in the testing standard may be counterproductive. One implication is that policies should emphasize alignment between the skills tested and those required in the actual jobs.
    Keywords: school standard, signaling model, cognitive skill, noncog- nitive skill
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2008–09
  14. By: Christopher Avery; Jonathan D. Levin
    Abstract: Early admissions is widely used by selective colleges and universities. We identify some basic facts about early admissions policies, including the admissions advantage enjoyed by early applicants and patterns in application behavior, and propose a game-theoretic model that matches these facts. The key feature of the model is that colleges want to admit students who are enthusiastic about attending, and early admissions programs give students an opportunity to signal this enthusiasm.
    JEL: C78 D82 I20
    Date: 2009–04
  15. By: Daghbashyan, Zara (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: Many efficiency studies have been conducted to look at the relative performance of universities. Judgments were made on the overall performance of universities compared to the best performing ones in the sample. Meanwhile the possibility of efficiency variation within the same university was not taken into account. The focus of this paper is on the measurement of technical efficiency within the units of the same university. It is interesting to see if the average efficiency score of university can reflect the performance of various units operating within the same technical university. The analysis is conducted for the Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden (KTH), using the data from the Research Assessment Exercise conducted by KTH in 2008. It provides a unique opportunity of quantifying different teaching and research outputs while controlling for quality.Technical efficiency scores are estimated using non-parametric production frontier methodologies. Different model specifications are tested.
    Keywords: Technical and scale efficiency; Data envelopment analysis; universities
    JEL: C14 I21 I23
    Date: 2009–04–01
  16. By: Broström, Anders (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of geographic proximity for interaction on R&D, by exploring the special case of university-industry contacts. While numerous studies find that geographic proximity facilitates spillover effects between university and industry by utilising evidence from e.g. patenting and publishing activities, the geographical dimension is largely understudied in studies that report evidence from direct interaction. To explore when geographical proximity matters for university-industry interaction, a series of interviews with R&D managers in Swedish engineering firms is conducted. These interviews suggest that linkages in geographical proximity are more likely to generate impulses to innovation and create significant learning effects at the firm. Similarly, geographic proximate interaction is more likely to successfully contribute to R&D projects with short time to market. For long-term R&D projects, geographic proximity is generally seen as a less critical factor. A survey to 425 R&D managers in Swedish engineering firms provides evidence that supports these hypotheses.
    Keywords: R&D collaboration; innovation collaboration; university; technology transfer
    JEL: L21 L23 O32
    Date: 2009–03–25
  17. By: CAPRON, Henri; CINCERA, Michèle
    Keywords: industiy-university collaborations; innovation; Belgian CIS-2
  18. By: Emla Fitzsimons (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Alice Mesnard (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: <p><p>This paper investigates how the permanent departure of the head from the household, mainly due to death or divorce, affects children's school enrolment and work participation in rural Colombia. In our empirical specification we use household-level fixed effects to deal with the fact that households that experience the departure of the head are likely to differ in unobserved ways from those that do not, and we also address the issue of non-random attrition from the panel. We find remarkably different effects for boys and girls. For boys, the adverse event reduces school participation and increases participation in paid work, whereas for girls we find evidence of the adverse event having a beneficial impact on schooling. To explain these differences, we provide evidence for boys consistent with the head's departure having an important effect through the income reduction associated with it, whereas for girls, changes in the household decision-maker appear to play an important role.</p></p>
    Keywords: Child labour; schooling; adverse event; income loss; credit and insurance market failures; bargaining
    JEL: I20 J12 J22 O16
    Date: 2008–11
  19. By: Karin Mayr (Johannes Kepler University, Linz); Giovanni Peri (University of California, Davis, CESifo and NBER)
    Abstract: Recent empirical evidence seems to show that temporary migration is a widespread phenomenon, especially among highly skilled workers who return to their countries of origin when these begin to grow. This paper develops a simple, tractable overlapping generations model that provides a rationale for return migration and predicts who will migrate and who returns among agents with heterogeneous abilities. The model also incorporates the interaction between the migration decision and schooling: the possibility of migrating, albeit temporarily, to a country with high returns to skills produces positive schooling incentive effects. We use parameter values from the literature and data on return migration to simulate the model for the Eastern-Western European case. We then quantify the effects that increased openness (to migrants) would have on human capital and wages in Eastern Europe. We find that, for plausible values of the parameters, the possibility of return migration combined with the education incentive channel reverses the brain drain into a significant brain gain for Eastern Europe.
    Date: 2009–04
  20. By: Elisenda Rentería (Cedeplar-UFMG); Cassio M. Turra (Cedeplar-UFMG)
    Abstract: Social and economic inequalities in health and mortality are widely observed around the world. Individuals with lower socioeconomic status – usually defined by education, income and occupational status – have lower chances of survival and higher morbidity rates than individuals with higher socioeconomic status (Goldman, 2001). This association extends across all the distribution of socioeconomic variables, also within the highest social groups, defining what researchers call social “gradient” in health (Adler et al., 1994). This association has been studied for both sexes, but the relationship among women remains unclear. Also, it is a question rarely studied in developing countries, mostly due to a lack of reliable information. That is the case of Brazil, were although social and income inequality has been very high and persistent over time, with a long tradition of studies in this field (Barros, Foguel e Ulyssea 2007), we know very little about health and mortality disparities. Some previous works suggest a great gap in mortality by income in Brazil (Wood & Carvalho, 1988). However, all the efforts to investigate mortality inequality in Brazil run into the lack of information, especially in adult ages. This article combines information about the mother’s survival and education of respondents from a nationally representative household survey collected in Brazil in 1996 (Pesquisa de Padrões de Vida - PPV), to examine how mortality among adult women varied by level of education during the last decades. This study contributes to the discussion on the adult’s mortality differentials in developing countries with defective data.
    Keywords: Mortality Rates, Socioeconomic Status, Brazil
    JEL: I12
    Date: 2009–03
  21. By: Catia Batista (Trinity College Dublin); Aitor Lacuesta (Banco de España); Pedro Vicente (Trinity College Dublin)
    Abstract: Does emigration really drain human capital accumulation in origin countries? This paper explores a unique household survey purposely designed and conducted to answer this specific question for the case of Cape Verde. This is allegedly the African country suffering from the largest "brain drain", despite also having a fast-growing stock of human capital. Our micro data enables us to propose a novel, explicit test of "brain gain" arguments according to which the possibility of own future emigration positively impacts educational attainment in the origin country. The innovative empirical strategy we propose hinges on the ideal characteristics of our survey, namely on full histories of migrants and on a new set of exclusion restrictions. Our results point to a very substantial impact of the “brain gain†channel on the educational attainment of those who do not emigrate. Alternative channels (namely remittances, family disruption, and general equilibrium effects at the local level) are also considered, but do not seem to play an important role. Our findings are robust to the choice of instruments and the empirical model.
    Keywords: Brain drain, brain gain, international migration, human capital, effects of emigration in origin countries, household survey, Cape Verde, sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: F22 J24 O15
    Date: 2009–02
  22. By: Breno Braga (University of Michigan); Sergio Firpo (Escola de Economia de São Paulo da Fundação Getúlio Vargas); Gustavo Gonzaga (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)
    Abstract: We study the determinants of the public-private earnings gap for different levels of schooling of Brazilian workers. First, using the current earnings as the variable of interest, we estimate that less educated people receive higher earnings in the public sector (i.e., the earnings gap is favorable to the public sector). On the other hand, for workers with higher schooling, the earnings gap disappears or becomes favorable to the private sector. In addition, we consider the different retirement regimes in Brazil by creating the variable Present Value of Work Contract (PVWC). This variable is a measure of the lifetime earnings for each individual in our database. In contrast to the results from the current earnings analysis, we found that the PVWC gap is favorable to the public sector even for the highest educated group of workers.
    Keywords: Earning Gaps; Retirement; Public Sector JEL Codes: J31; J45
    Date: 2008–12

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